Mindfulness Travel & The Art of Transformation
I had the tremendous honor of guiding a sacred sangha (practice community of like-minded spirits) to Bali with Pravassa Wellness Travel this Spring. For me, travel has become a mindfulness practice like no other ~ a sensory immersion of the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of a world far beyond the confines of my own mini microcosm. Away from the frenetic pace of daily life, we can access parts of ourselves that have been repressed or denied for months or even years. I was guided to bring a group to beautiful Bali for NYEPI (Balinese New Year) in order to soak in the powerfully palpable Hindu energy. True devotees to spiritual life, the Balinese people live and breathe their connection to Earth Mother and the spirit world. Each morning, I guided our group in spiritual ritual and meditation to expand the consciousness, fostering inner awakening to the oneness of all creation. Highlights included participating in a full day of silence for NYEPI, immersing in a water purification ceremony at Tirta Empul Temple and visiting a local Shamanic healer in Munduk.
Stillness and silence were our unwavering teachers of a presence unseen when immersed in the frenetic pace of daily life. My life's work of sharing ancient healing practices inevitably involves travel because exploring foreign lands with new eyes and an open heart leaves us forever changed. Within the cellular memory of our body exists the expansive moments we experience while exploring the culturally rich nooks and crannies of our planet. These moments of alchemical transformation unfold when we see a piece of ourselves in the eyes of another, as the illusion of our human-created separateness melts away. The catalyst of this liberation from separateness (and our experience of samadhi) is meditation...and other ancient practices that support mindfulness cultivation.
HERE, I share 3 practices I taught to our sacred sangha while we journeyed together through Bali:
There's a difference between genuine happiness and state-dependent happiness. State-dependent happiness is when conditions within us and circumstances outside of us must line-up in order for us to experience happiness. For example, we need for things to go our way - receiving the raise we desire, having the partner of our dreams or owning the car we've been yearning for - in order to possess a sense of happiness in life. This is a slippery slope because when we become attached to state-dependent happiness, we're relinquishing our power to energies and circumstances outside of our control. Bali's sacred, spiritual land was the perfect environment to support our cultivation of genuine happiness, shifting away from state-dependent happiness. When our internal reference point is our soul - not how others respond to us - then, our happiness is steadfast and unwavering. A mindful gatha (spiritual poem) helps to shift us from stress to serenity as we honor the innate goodness, wholeness and happiness of our soul.
I Offer YOU This Gatha:
May I know the truth. May I be the truth. May I see the truth. May I be a conduit for goodness. May I live far beyond the constrictions of fear. May I step into the Power of Presence.
I've been utilizing this gatha daily and it has shifted me from moments of self-doubt to anchored self-love, time and time again.
Outside of meditation, the intention of every spiritual practice I teach is to create optimal conditions for an expansive, awakening, grounded meditation. The Buddhists have gifted us with timeless wisdom around how to work with the mind in order to liberate ourselves from suffering that stems from the mind's propensity to cling to pleasure and avoid pain. But when we pair energetic practices with mindfulness meditation, the healing capacity we can possess becomes limitless. The Universe is made of two essential elements ~ energy and information. When we learn how to manage our energy effectively, we can utilize the power of our human-centered manifesting powers through planting intention into the spaciousness of our balanced energy field and expansive mind. This is an equation for mindful manifesting beyond your wildest dreams.
First thing in the morning, commit to a short but transformative grounding practice. Sit at the edge of your bed and plant your feet into the ground. Bring your attention into the soles of both feet. Directly sense the contact of your feet with the surface beneath them. You might sense tingling sensations or a gentle aliveness. Now, imagine that there's quarter-sized disk on the bottom of each foot, spinning clockwise. Imagine these disks spinning, gaining momentum and expanding into saucer sized disks, then eventually, large dinner plate disks. Now envision that this spinning energy drops from the soles of your feet, moving through the floor, through the crust of Earth, down to the center of Earth. As you inhale, imagine ruby red columns of light traveling up through Mother Earth ~ past the minerals and rocks ~ penetrating the Earth's surface and coming back up through the soles of your feet, up the legs into the tailbone area. Envision this beautiful, nourishing ruby red light surrounding your tailbone. Stay with this image for a few minutes and feel yourself grounded in the moment, setting your day up for serenity and success.
Mindfulness as a Path
Mindfulness has been in the forefront of media recently, as neuroscience begins to validate what ancient yogis have known for centuries. But rationally understanding why living mindfully will benefit you won't excavate the motivation and devotion needed to sustain a consistent meditation practice. For me, embracing Mindfulness as a Path is key to igniting my motivation for meditating, day-to-day. I began asking myself honestly, "why do I want to practice mindfulness and meditation?" Then, my soul spoke and said "Embracing mindfulness as a path for living is about devotion to loving the oneness and non-duality of life with an undefended heart. It's dwelling in the inner space of self-love so I can love others fully. For me, mindfulness gives me the courage I need to challenge my conditioning so I can step into the light of truth." I encourage you to practice this self-inquiry. Ask yourself candid questions about your deepest intentions for living. Then, pause, journey inward and listen to the voice that can only be defined as your soul's truth. What emerges from the heart will become the fuel for your practice ~ what guides you back to the yoga mat or meditation cushion. Write down your mindfulness mission statement and read it aloud to yourself everyday.
From the sacred center of my heart, I thank all the beautiful beings who joined me in Bali for my latest wellness vacation. When light work is your life's work, amazing journeys unfold. Remember THIS: When your dharmic purpose intersects with the needs of the world, the Universe provides abundantly.
I'm committed to sharing these transformative mindfulness journeys with you so I've collaborated with Pravassa once again to offer you a spiritual pilgrimage to INDIA November 1-12, 2018. "Let Your Light Lead: Awaken Your True Self" will call upon the essence of yogic and Buddhist philosophy and practice to journey you back home to the inner light of your soul as you shed layers of stress in exchange for supreme serenity. Imagine sitting at the base of the majestic Taj Mahal for morning meditation, walking where Buddha gave his first sermon after enlightenment and exploring the spiritual power of the Ganges River. I extend a loving invite for you to join me to become #ChangedByTravel in India. More Info / Registration HERE.
"Your work is to discover the world and then with all your heart give yourself to it." ~Buddha